British healthcare company Salutaris People has today officially confirmed it plans to launch ten private Covid test suites across the UK in the coming months to cope with what it predicts will be a huge demand when international air travel resumes after 17th May.
The first four private Covid-19 test suites will open in the North of England next month.Salutaris People is already working in partnership with the Test Assurance Group (TAG) and Liverpool John Lennon Airport to provide rapid PCR testing for airline passengers, private individuals and businesses.
The four new test suites will be based in Wilmslow in Cheshire, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Stockton-On-Tees and Sunderland. The largest section of the expansion will come in the North East for passengers who wish to fly from Newcastle International Airport and Teesside International Airport.
Both the Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Wilmslow suites will provide Covid-19 testing for airline passengers wishing to fly from Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Manchester International.
Salutaris People is investing in infrastructure, testing facilities and healthcare staffing costs for the rollout of its four test suites.
It is envisaged that when all four test suites are operational and air travel has fully resumed, the company will create more than 100 new jobs in administration, healthcare, marketing and sales positions
Salutaris People MD Ross Tomkins said: “We are delighted to be able to announce this first phase of expansion in our testing services across both the North East and North West of England.
“It builds on our existing medical and occupational healthcare businesses, which have a combined 30 years of expertise in this sector.
“We are investing heavily in both the North East and North West economies to help get international air travel for business and tourism back on its feet.
“PCR testing will continue to play a significant role in air travel for some time to come.
“It is the gold standard of Covid-19 testing and we believe it will play a major part in allowing passengers to undertake air travel again safely and with confidence.”
Ben Paglia MD of Akea Life, clinical partners to Salutaris People said: “We pride ourselves on being a medical and healthcare company first and foremost, delivering 5-star, best-in-class services to the public.
“The combined expertise of Salutaris People and Akea Life provides the public, airline passengers and businesses with a truly unique offering in Covid-19 testing.
“Our staff are made up of trained healthcare assistants, paramedics, doctors and a consultant virologist.
“This allows us to provide the very best point-of-care, advice and clinical guidance in relation to Covid-19 and infectious diseases.
“We believe Salutaris People is truly unique in this offering.”
Salutaris People recently warned that if the UK Government presses ahead with the use of lateral flow testing for international airline travel and for “home-use” testing, it could trigger a third wave of infections.
Consultant virologist and infectious diseases physician Dr Brendan Payne: “The NHS and Public Health England will need to maintain Covid testing capability indefinitely.
“Covid will not be eliminated by vaccinations and we need to find long-term solutions to live with it. An intensive programme of Covid testing is key as a major defence against new waves and new strains compromising our gains from vaccination.
“I don’t see this changing for at least the next year and probably longer. The most likely scenario for the next few years is a continued arms race between new variants of Covid and vaccination. Widespread Covid testing is absolutely crucial in winning that battle.
“Currently, Covid vaccines are on average perhaps 80% effective and not everyone will agree to have one.
“There will always be a certain number of Covid infections in the public, despite widespread vaccination.
“In many ways, it becomes more important to test widely once Covid numbers become lower because you need to know as quicky as possible if you are starting to lose control of the situation again.
“This is critical in quickly identifying hot spots of infection cases rising”.